All Elite Wrestling announced, details so far
After our world exclusive report back in October and months of clues and speculation, Upstart promotion All Elite Wrestling is now official. Shortly after the initial announcements were made at midnight on New Year’s Eve, Dave Meltzer of F4wonline checked in from Tokyo with some exclusive new details about who is signed and the status of AEW negotiating a television deal.
– All Elite Wrestling has already signed several performers to multi-year contracts. Cody Rhodes (and presumably his wife Brandi) are signed. As of midnight on New Year’s Eve, The Young Bucks had not signed on, but Meltzer speculated they are expected to be locked in imminently.
– Tony Khan is the head of the company. Khan is the son of billionaire Shad Khan, a co-owner of the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars and Premier League’s Fulham F.C.
(Note: As we reported back in October, agent Barry Bloom, Jim Ross and Chris Jericho have also been instrumental in getting this project off the ground. Barry Bloom, in particular, has made multiple trips to Japan in recent months – more on that below.)
– Chris Jericho is “on the radar” of All Elite Wrestling (to say the least), but is not under contract.
– All Elite Wrestling currently has multiple television deals under consideration, but nothing is signed. All In back in September got the attention of major players in the television industry, who were very impressed with overall production. The success of All In was the “difference maker” that sold everyone on this project’s viability.
– All Elite Wrestling is now in direct competition with Ring of Honor. The two companies are already competing for talent. ROH recently signed Bandito, who was part of the main event of All In and part of AEW’s early roster planning.
– Ring of Honor’s partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling is now less secure, due to The Elite’s affiliation with NJPW. With the departure of The Elite, Ring of Honor has been rebuilding their roster in an effort to regroup that huge loss. In addition to Bandito, the company has recently signed PCO, Brody King and Mark Haskins.
– It’s a good time to be an independent wrestler. With WWE, NJPW, AEW, ROH MLW and Impact all competing for talent, the market value for unsigned free agents is skyrocketing.
We’ve heard that WWE is looking to continue their signing spree and is prepared to offer ‘much higher than usual’ money to the remaining free agents out there. Guys like Kenny Omega (free agent later this month), PAC, Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix are very well-positioned at this time.